Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

There Is Joy In Service

By Brittney Hollingsworth
Brittney Hollingsworth

What is your first thought when someone mentions service? Is it an image, an event, a phrase – or maybe it’s just a feeling that comes to mind? If you said helping out with parish events, volunteering at a soup kitchen or even helping a friend remodel their house, you’d be correct. There are many opportunities in our daily lives and in the greater community for us to serve others by simply giving a little of ourselves – whether it’s our time, thoughts or money. Service is any action of helping or doing work for someone else.

Ever since mom thought we were old enough, she would drag us along to as many parish events as she could for us to volunteer and help work. I could never understand why people would willingly spend their time helping with something when they weren’t getting anything back, though – and when there were so many better things I thought we could be doing instead of serving food or carry around bags. That thought changed pretty soon, however, after I understood that it isn’t just what you are helping with but how you are helping. When you have an open mind and realize that it isn’t just carrying around bags at the rummage sale for example, you could be helping people find items to repurpose and donate to somebody who doesn’t have the money to buy even the bare essentials.

Along the way – and it wasn’t some big life defining moment that we often wish for – I realized that I was beginning to look forward to the next parish event, when and where I could volunteer my time. I still help out at parish events when I can, but the Newman Catholic Community at USI has helped me meet students who also enjoy serving others and provides opportunities in our local community to volunteer and serve in a variety of ways. There are so many good things happening in our community, that once you start looking, it is pretty easy to find an organization that you can donate your time and own personal skills to helping serve.

I really love being able to take a little bit of time out of my regular schedule to serve others. There is a sort of joy received from serving without expecting anything in return. “Their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:2). This joy can be found in the simplest things from serving others, such as a smile from a stranger or a sincere thank you for your time. I challenge you to sign up for your next parish event or volunteer an hour of your time to a local organization, and reflect on what you receive from that act of service. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you are able to continue finding joy in serving others!

Hollingsworth is a junior at the University of Southern Indiana studying elementary education. She is from Evansville.